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My Life

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How can we produce a picture of the life and character of a person we have come to know? In the same way, generally speaking, as we produce a picture of a place we once saw. We have to recall its physiognomical characteristics: the nature and shape of its mountains, its plant and animal life, the azure of its sky, all this taken together determines the impression we receive. But it is not precisely that which first meets the eye – the mountain ranges, the forms of cliffs and rocks – which in itself gives a place its physiognomical character: in different zones of the earth, however, they may attract or repel when taken as a whole, similar species of rock, the same forms of inorganic nature, step forth in accordance with the same laws. It is different with the inorganic [error for organic]. Especially in the plant world do there lie the subtlest clues for the comparative study of nature.

Something similar applies if we seek to survey a human life and to appreciate it correctly. We ought not to be guided by chance events, the gifts of fortune, the changing external eventualities which arise from conflicting external circumstances, when, like mountain peaks, they leap first to the eye. It is precisely those little events and inner occurrences we believe we have to neglect which in their totality reveal the individual character most clearly, they grow organically out of the nature of the man, while the former appear only in inorganic connection with him.

After this introduction it seems as though I intended to write a book about my life. Never. I wish only to indicate how I want the following sketches from my life to be understood: namely, in the way a gifted naturalist recognises, in his collections of plants and stones ordered according to the zone of the earth from which they came the history and character of each of them, while the ignorant child finds in them only stones and plants to play with, and the man who seeks only what is useful in things looks down on them as something purposeless and unserviceable as food or clothing.

Friedrich Nietzsche - Фридрих Ницше - فريدريش نيتشه

Friedrich Nietzsche · English

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